View of Youth Foundation plans
by Judy Gabriel
Supporters of the Ojai Valley Youth Foundation will receive
tomorrow an overview of Ojai's progress toward becoming a community
"where no child falls through."
At its Inaugural Patron Breakfast at the Ojai Valley Inn &
Spa, the OVYF will highlight the groundwork laid over the last
five years implementing the Ojai Valley Youth Master Plan and
the next steps to take together as a community.
The Ojai Valley Youth Master Plan, created in 1996, commits to
"ensuring that our community is a safe and nurturing one
for our young people to grow and reach their full potential."
Caryn Bosson, the OVYF executive director, said, "We are
all aware that we have a way to go, but the Ojai Valley has established
some very promising programs and approaches. The challenge we
now put forward to our community is for all of us to surround
every young person growing up here with the support and opportunity
Ojai Police Chief, Capt. Gary Pentis, will be the featured speaker
at the patron breakfast with a sobering picture of Ojai Valley's
current environment for today's youth and tomorrow's adults.
The program will also include presentations by youth and adults
on the OVYF Five-Year Report, how far we've come and suggestions
from our youth on what's still missing.
"Collaboration is the theme for our community's success,"
states OVYF Board President Dale Hanson. In fact, many of the
accomplishments of the past five years have arisen from the collaboration
and commitment of institutions such as the city of Ojai, the
Ojai Unified School District and the Ventura County Sheriff's
Department. These organizations have joined forces to establish
the Ojai Skate Park, reinstate the Youth Employment Service,
and establish the Oak View Police Activities League, among others.
During the past five years the Youth Foundation itself has implemented
programs in youth leadership, mentoring, job and career experience,
and diversity awareness with major funding provided by The California
Wellness Foundation. "Through this five-year grant, the
Ojai Valley became a statewide leader in creating youth-adult
partnerships to improve overall community well-being," Hanson
states. Participants in these partnerships report a strongly
increased sense of connection and belonging, and a positive view
of our community's direction with regard to its youth.
Thursday's patron's breakfast will form a core of those ready
and willing to launch the next five years of community support
for - and with - Ojai's young people. A patron is any community
member who pledges at least $1,000 over three years, or $333
a year. Patrons are also given the opportunity to provide support,
advice and direction to initiatives such as creating a teen center,
a substance abuse support network and community collaboration.
For information on the patron's breakfast, to receive a copy
of the Ojai Valley Youth Foundation's Five Year Report, and/or
for more information on what you can do to help provide that
strong community fabric that every child needs, call the Ojai
Valley Youth Foundation at 640-9555, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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Ojai Valley Youth Foundation received accolades from Dr. David
Satcher, 16th surgeon general of the United States, at a recent
conference focusing on improving adolescent and community health.
Pictured left to right are Suzanne Nixon Bohnett, left, Robert
Morales, Caryn Bosson, Dr. David Satcher, Meredith Jung and Elizabeth